In kinky vernacular, a "unicorn" is a third who joins an established couple, often a bisexual woman who enjoys NSA hookups with a straight-ish, monogam-ish couples.
The new web series Unicornland follows the newly divorced Annie (Laura Ramadei) as she explores polyamorous New York as an aspiring unicorn, jumping into bed with couples from all walks of life—from scruffy Brooklyn hipsters to Wall Street power duos.
Each of the series' eight episodes sees Annie on a date with a new couple and explores the sexy, tender and hilarious (and also frustrating, sad, and awkward) situations she finds herself in.
"It was important to me that the show feel authentic to my best and worst experiences of the sex positive community," says creator Lucy Gillespie, who was inspired to create the series after getting divorced herself. While Gillespie didn't throw herself into polyamory the way Annie does, she involved members of New York's sex-positive scene in the making of the show: Some scenes were actually filmed in Hacienda Villa, a polyamorous residential community in Bushwick. (Members appear in the series, as well.)
"I benefitted hugely from being involved in that community," Gillespie tells NewNowNext. "I met wonderful people and learned a lot about myself. I became more comfortable in my own skin, more empathetic towards others, and more joyful about life in general. I got to explore parts of myself I’d suppressed and was ashamed of—and was met with such grace and compassion."
While not every experience was positive, she says she felt a sense of duty "to give back to the community by honestly portraying that warmth and complexity."
Unicornland is about as far from the stereotype of the "swinging" scene as you can get: The crew on the show was three-quarters female, and most of the cast was something other than cisgender, white dudes—including trans, genderqueer and disabled actors.
"Without the full spectrum of people behind the scenes, there’s no way the story will be truly authentic," Gillespie says.
Having women on the crew made actors more comfortable, too—especially when they had to film girl-on-girl sex scenes.
"It changed the tone of the show," she adds, "because the eye through which everything is seen is female. Very few films are shot through a female lens, let alone sexually explicit films."
And the crew was excited to work on a project about a woman’s sexual journey, she adds. "Women want sex. We want to be turned on, but there’s so little out there that gets it right. By having a largely female crew, we were literally representing female desire, and the female experience of sex."
All eight episodes of Unicornland are now available for free on Vimeo. Watch Episode One below